TRANSCRIPT: The Democratic Debate

EDWARDS: ... maintain -- but let me finish. If we maintain the momentum of change, yes, we will win again in 2008. I think that's the question. And the real question for Democratic caucus-goers and voters across this country is, "Who's most likely to bring about change?"

Here's what I believe: I don't believe you can change this country without taking on very entrenched interests in Washington, including lobbyists, that stand between us and the change America needs. And I don't believe you can do it by sitting at a table, negotiating with them and trying to bring them together.

These people will never give away their power voluntarily. We have to take their power away from them. This is what I've been doing my whole life, and that is why I believe I am the candidate who can bring change to this country.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you're seeing that Senator Clinton is not?

EDWARDS: Listen, Senator Clinton, both as first lady and as a United States senator, has done a terrific job. She's been in Washington a long time. I've asked -- Senator, I have never taken money from Washington lobbyists.

EDWARDS: Senator Obama is not taking it in this campaign. I applaud him for that. And I've said: Why don't we all make an absolutely clear statement that we are the Democratic Party; we're the party of the people; we are not the party of Washington insiders?

And we can say it clearly and unequivocally, by saying we will never take another dime from a Washington lobbyist.

(APPLAUSE)

I've asked the other candidates to join me in that.

(APPLAUSE)

And at least, until now, Senator Clinton's not done it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Clinton, will you do it?

CLINTON: Well, I don't think Karl Rove's going to endorse me. That becomes more and more obvious. But I find it interesting he's so obsessed with me. And I think the reason is because...

(LAUGHTER)

... we know how to win. I mean, you know, I have been fighting against these people for longer than anybody else up here. I've taken them on and we've beaten them.

And I'm very excited about my campaign. I had 18 wonderful years in Arkansas. I'll be there tomorrow, where the governor will be endorsing me.

I've had wonderful experiences in upstate New York, where many of the people who voted for me had never voted for a Democrat before.

And you know, the idea that you're going to escape the Republican attack machine and not have high negatives by the time they're through with you, I think, is just missing what's been going on in American politics for the last 20 years.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: And the reason -- the reason why we're going to win is because we have a better vision for America, we know how to bring about change, and I know how to beat them.

So, yes, they're going to be driving up negatives and making all these comments. Doesn't matter to me a bit.

What's important is what's happening in the lives of the American people. And the kind of change I'm interested in is how we help more Americans get to the American dream.

And that means universal health care. That means new jobs for the middle class with rising incomes. It means what I have fought for, for more than 35 years.

And I am proud of my campaign, and it's getting better every single day.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Clinton...

CLINTON: So I'm looking forward to going up against whoever the Republicans nominate.

(APPLAUSE)

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